Madeline Gearheart | June 26, 2018
Your Country’s Favorite Soccer Player
When you think summer sports, baseball springs to mind. This year, so does soccer! According to a recent Gallup poll, soccer is closing the gap and may soon overtake baseball, and is already the second-most popular sport among 18-24 year olds.
Can you guess the top five favorite soccer players in the world?
Did You Guess…
Ronaldo? That’s understandable as he is popular, but he did not make the top five. To compile our list, we cross-referenced the most popular soccer players on Instagram® with Google Trends data from 2017.
How about Messi? Also a good guess, and while he makes this list, he is not numero uno.
Survey Results: Top 5 Favorite Soccer Players in the World
T-5. Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
We have a tie!
Thiago Silva is a central defender for both Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. He is also captain of both teams. While his Instagram feed is full of action shots from the pitch and celebrations, his 12.8 million Instagram followers also see him transferring his skills to beach volleyball.
Speaking of skills, Silva has won 23 soccer awards, some more than once, including:
- 5-time French Champion
- 5-time French League Cup Winner
- 5-time French Super Cup Winner
Silva is most popular in the following countries:
|Congo – Kinshasa|
Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays forward for the LA Galaxy, and has played 116 times for the Swedish national team. Know what else? He’s one of only ten players to have made more than 100 appearances with the Swedish national team! Oh, and he is also Sweden’s all-time leading scorer with 62 goals.
If you’re one of his 32.9 million Instagram followers, though, you are treated to inspiring, and sometimes humorous videos of Zlatan.
Zlatan is the most popular in these countries:
|Bosnia & Herzegovina|
4. Lionel Messi
Surprised Messi ranks fourth? So are we! And probably so are his 92.7 million Instagram followers. He has, by far, the most Instagram followers of the top five. A forward for FC Barcelona and part of the Argentine national team, his Instagram feed provides a glimpse into the life of superstar.
Yes, super star. These are just some of his 77 awards:
- 16-time Top Scorer for FC Barcelona
- 5-time FIFA Ballon D’Or winner
- 4-time Champion League Winner
- 3-time UEFA Best Player in Europe
- Olympic Gold Medalist
What countries search the most for Messi? These nine:
|Congo – Brazzaville|
3. Harry Kane
The world’s third most popular soccer player is Harry Kane, a striker for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the captain of the English national team.
He was named the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Young Player of the Year during the 2014-2015 season, and has been named Premier League Player of the Month six times.
He is also a scoring machine, winning the award for top scorer twice, for both Tottenham Hotspur and the Premier League, in back-to-back seasons. His 4.7 million Instagram followers enjoy every celebration.
Kane is the favorite player in the following countries:
2. Marcus Rashford
A forward for Manchester United, Marcus Rashford comes in second for the world’s most favorite soccer player. His Instagram feed is full of action shots from the pitch, as well as more candid shots of training and having fun. Rashford looks to be all smiles.
He’s won the English League Cup, the English Super Cup, and has been named a U21 (that’s under-21) Premier League Champion.
He’s the most favorite player in the following countries:
1. Iker Casillas
Yes, Iker Casillas, keeper for FC Porto, is the world’s favorite soccer player. Twenty-one countries, including Kuwait, Georgia, and Sudan, search for him the most. He is widely considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, won the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS) World’s Best Goalkeeper Award for five consecutive years between 2008 and 2012, and is the only keeper to win the award four times in a row.
He’s won 25 awards, some more than once, including:
- 5-time Spanish Champion
- 4-time Spanish Super Cup Winner
- 3-time Champions League Winner
His 12.4 million Instagram followers are treated to a mix of selfies, artwork, scenery, and candid shots of his home, shopping trips, and family. What better way to see how one of the greatest goalkeepers spends his time unwinding?
Here are the countries that searched the most for Casillas:
We compared lists of the soccer players with the highest following on Instagram to discover if they were also the most searched players around the world. We then cross-referenced our list with 2017 Google Trends data to see which players came out on top in 80+ countries.